During the years of Attorney General John Ashcroft the Department of Justice (DOJ) had a policy to charge defendants with the highest possible charges. They took a tough on crime approach to lock up criminal, and deter crime. However this policy did very little to deter crime, and most criminal charges were minor charges. However later on Eric Holder became the Attorney General, and sought to reform many of the charging policies on what most the legal world believed to be draconian sentences. People charged with low level non-violent crimes would no longer be facing life sentences, and mandatory-minimums. However unfortunately when Jeff Sessions became the Attorney General all that changed, when he decided to change the charging decisions for federal prosecutor to seek the most jail time possible for crimes they can prove. People will once again be facing huge sentences, sometimes even life in prison for minor crimes.
MYTHS ABOUT TOUGH ON CRIME POLICIES
Unfortunately many people have a distorted view of the criminal justice system from watching the news and other television programs. People think we have to be tough on crime to lock up bad people, and deter future crimes. However what they don’t realize is that most crimes are minor crimes, and large prison sentences do very little to deter these crimes. Prisons across the nation are filled with defendants who have committed minor crimes. However people don’t realize this, because these crimes rarely make the news. When was the last time you saw someone arrested for a joint, or a piece of cocaine on the even news? Yet these are some of the most typical cases.
The criminal justice system should evolve with the current times, and knowledge of the time. In the past seeking the highest crimes possible wasn’t as bad, because there were no mandatory-minimums for minor crimes. Then the war on drugs began, and the government past some draconian sentences, and started implementing mandatory sentences for possessing drugs. Yet these sentences did little to deter drugs, yet we still enforce these outdated laws. As a result, defendant’s will frequently receive as much jail time for minor amounts of drugs, as they would for a violent crime such as attempted murder.